Punjab’s solar scam? Farmers’ energy deal given to costlier Delhi firm

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Punjab will purchase solar energy from a Delhi company for at least 50 paise-a-unit more than the Rs 6.5 offer from its own farmers.Punjab State Power Corporation Limited now will buy the same renewable electricity for Rs 7.03 from Sam Solar and even pay it Rs 3 crore (or 30% of the project cost, whichever is lower) subsidy on every megawatt (Rs 15 crore, thus) it will generate by installing solar panels along irrigation canals. Punjab Energy Development Authority (Peda), the PSPCL, and the company signed two power-purchase agreements to this effect in MarchSubsidy from the central government is also available to the developer. The deal came after Peda halted its project of installing solar panels on farms, for which it had engaged 280 farmers on the basis of reverse bidding. They were to sell renewable energy to the government for between Rs 6.25 and 6.89 per unit and have a capacity to produce 500 megawatts of electricity.The dream of converting farmers into entrepreneurs as part of the diversification plan involved getting farmers to generate 1-to-2.5 MW power for 25 years based on individual capacity. Peda aborted the move after collecting Rs 14.5 crore from the successful bidders, many of whom had sold off their assets to raise loan for the venture.


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